For starters, I should note that I dislike shoujo as a genre. But I do like shoujo-ai to some extent. There are complex reasons for that, but the one which is probably the most important is that from my point of view, female characters in a typical shoujo manga/anime are nice, while male characters are not. I don't appreciate how men are depicted in shoujo in general. And if I dislike the characters themselves, surely I won't appreciate watching them playing romantic leads, while shoujo is mostly about romance. I also have a thing for female same-sex relationships, but that shouldn't necessary be in the shoujo genre. It's just that I appreciate shoujo-ai more than a straight shoujo.
|Minamoto Chikaru, the best girl in the show|
|Catholic setting: Hikari and Yaya in the choir|
|Main characters, Nagisa and Shizuma are talking at the piano|
In conclusion, I just want to note two things, which I can explain in details only in the spoiler part of the review. The first one is that I really liked how the show ended. It somehow caught me completely off-guard. And the ending was by no means sudden or unpredictable, I just didn't see it coming because I had different expectations (I explain why in the second part). But the ending is very righteous in my opinion. The second one is that the show is full of what is called "mono no aware". It's a recurring motif which runs through the show and I deeply appreciated it. It is also strongly related to the reason why I think that the show's ending is "righteous". Actually, I would have rated the show much higher if it wasn't that boring.
Continue to the second part (spoilers)
As I've previously noted, Nagisa's storyline and Hikari's storyline are very similar. They are both transfer students, they both fall in love with the first and the second most popular girls in schools respectively and they both have a roommates who are secretly in love with them. I thought that their storylines were meant to contrast with each other. Hikari's relationships with Amane developed gradually but steadily, while Yaya hadn't been given a chance. Seeing that Nagisa's relationships with Shizuma were pretty irregular and misleading, I somehow didn't expect that Tamao would perfectly repeat Yaya's fate. Or rather I didn't expect that Shizuma would snatch Nagisa at the very last moment. But I'm happy she did it, from my point of view, that was the second best moment in the whole show. The first one was Shizuma's confrontation with Miyuki, who stated: "You are an Étoile", on what Shizuma replied: "But i am also human!" - that dialogue perfectly foreshadowed the ending, by the way, but I did not understand it at that moment. However, Shizuma always acted on a whim and in accordance with her emotions, disregarding anyone's expectations and sometimes even the common sense. That's what I like the most about her. Yet, it's those attitude what led her to falling in love with terminally ill Kaori, who soon passed away, leaving Shizuma heartbroken. And I personally don't think that there is a future for her with Nagisa also. After Shizuma graduates from St. Miator, she will probably never meet Nagisa again. So, as I see it, Shizuma once again goes into relationships which are doomed to be fleeting. But that fleetingness is exactly what makes the story beautiful in my eyes. Also, even though I feel sorry for Tamao, I doubt that Nagisa ever had any romantic feelings for her. Personally, I don't think that love is something that can be achieved through hard work alone.
The other one whom I often felt sorry for, was Momomi. She was probably the only girl in the show besides Shizuma and Kaori, who was deeply in love with someone (I can't really say that Nagisa's, Hikari's or Amane's feeling were that deep), going as far as participating in Kaname's ignominious plans of seducing Hikari. While on the surface she and Kaname didn't seem to take each other seriously, it was obvious that Kaname had been the only one who was just playing initially. Regarding Kaname: Kaname's obsession with Amane was pretty stupid in my opinion. What's so big deal if someone is better than yourself in "everything"? If you don't have the talent, you should be plenty satisfied with being the number two. And Kaname's attempts to rape Hikari were just ridiculous. That should have been obvious for Momomi as well, but she patiently played along with it every time. Also, I think that Momomi actually didn't give a fuck about the Étoile title, she was serious about becoming Étoiles with Kaname only because she saw it as some kind of love bond. I also appreciated how Momomi always was the leader in their intimate relationships with Kaname. Seriously, Kaname should have been more happy, having such a nice girl as her partner and lover. I'm glad that she at least did make up with Momomi.
|The villain team, Momomi and Kaname are probably the couple with the most sincere and mature relationship|